Buhari under fire for saying wife, Aisha, ‘belongs in kitchen’


President Muhammadu Buhari has been widely criticised for saying his wife, Aisha, belongs in his kitchen and living room, in response to the first lady’s public criticism of the president’s appointments.

In an interview with BBC, Aisha Buhari said the president had abandoned those who worked to bring him to power, and suggested the government had been hijacked by a few individuals who now wield sweeping powers.

“He is yet to tell me —if he’ll seek re-election— but I have decided as his wife, that if things continue like this up to 2019, I will not go out and campaign again and ask any woman to vote like I did before,” Mrs. Buhari warned. “I will never do it again.”

The president responded during a joint press conference with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Berlin on Friday, saying his wife should be taking care of his kitchen, living room and the “other room” —meaning his bedroom.

“I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room,” Mr. Buhari was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

Mr. Buhari also said he had superior wisdom over his wife and other people who oppose his policies because he had been able to win an election after many years of trying.

“So I claim superior knowledge over her and the rest of the opposition, because in the end I have succeeded,” Mr. Buhari said. “It’s not easy to satisfy the whole Nigerian opposition parties or to participate in the government.”

In her reaction, Abiodun Olujimi, a female senator from Ekiti State, said President Buhari’s comment was in a “very bad taste” and even more frightening that he said it while visiting Mrs. Merkel.

“The statement is in bad state. In a very bad state,” Ms. Olujimi said. “Especially because he was saying it beside one of the most powerful women in the world. That makes it very offensive and very nasty.”

Ms. Olujimi, whose gender equality bill is making progress in the Senate, said President Buhari had become notorious for his embarrassing gaffes in foreign land, saying she and other women groups were working on a response to the latest remarks.

“The president is the biggest diplomat a country can have. But we have a president that cannot weigh word —especially outside— but instead allowed emotions to becloud good thoughts. That is not in any way acceptable.

“We won’t disparage the president. We won’t bring him down before the world. But, of course, we would look inward and see how we can handle the situation,” Ms. Olujimi said.

The social media has also been pounding Mr. Buhari for the comments, with the attacks coming even more from his supporters than critics.

Kayode Ogundamisi, a social commentator and activist, said the president’s views were not compatible with modern ideas.

“The president should know that his distorted thinking that Nigerian women or any woman for that matter belong in the bedroom or kitchen is unacceptable,” Mr. Ogundamisi said in a statement.

“And if the president finds it funny, it is not the kind of joke that the President of any country should be engaged in.

“The president should know that the world has indeed moved on and that.

“Women play a very key role in our society.”

Mr. Ogundamisi, who backed Mr. Buhari during the 2015 election, demanded an immediate apology from Mr. Buhari for his comments, which he said constituted an embarrassment to Nigeria.

“The president should apologised to Nigerians especially as his statement was made during an international engagement standing next to the German Chancellor Angela Markel. The president’s view on women and wife belongs to the cave era and not the modern world. As a supporter I find it embarrassing that the best reply the Nigerian president can give to criticism by his wife is to respond in such a sexist and misogynist fashion,” he said.

Another Mr. Buhari’s supporter who criticised him for the controversial remarks was Japheth Omojuwa.

“I am not a fan of publicly hitting those you have access to privately, but @MBuhari’s response is shocking and embarrassing,” Mr. Omojuwa said. “What happened to ‘this is a matter between myself and my wife and we know how to deal with our differences: away from prying eyes’”.

Some critics of the president unearthed past statements made by former first lady, Patience Jonathan, where she said women should no longer be confined to the kitchen.

“Nigerian women should no longer go back to the kitchen. It is not our portion to go back to the kitchen,” Mrs. Jonathan said while campaigning for her husband in Abia State ahead of the 2015 election. “We have women that are capable. We can contribute our quota to the development of Nigeria.”

A social media enthusiast, Abang Mercy, circulated Mrs. Jonathan’s statement on Twitter and said Mr. Buhari’s comments marked the “height of chauvinism from a president”.

“He just reinforced existing stereotypes especially in Northern Nigeria,” she said.

Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, downplayed the president’s comment Friday, saying, “He was obviously throwing a banter”.

Some Nigerians agreed.

The president of National Association of Women Journalists, Ify Omowole, said Mr. Buhari’s comments were jokes because he said so.

“The president has come out to say it was a joke. I accepted it as a joke. The president has a right to joke and the fact that he’s a president doesn’t mean he can’t crack jokes,” Ms. Omowole said.

Ms. Omowole said the culture had defined roles of women to include going to the kitchen, but added that that would not limit them from achieving their potentials.

“The culture has defined our role as going to the kitchen but that doesn’t mean we’re not excelling in our roles,” Ms. Omowole said.

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  • Jaspa Matanga

    Mrs Aisha Buhari was very unfair to her husband Buhari. What type of housewife will broadcast to the whole world that her husband is so incompetent that he does not know what is happening under his watch? I can never do such a thing to my boyfriend not to talk of my husband. If i were a man and my wife does to me what Aisha did to Buhari, her place will be in her father’s premises.

    • Willie Angus


      Muhamadu Buhari lacks exposure to understand global issues and sees democracy in terms of seizing
      national opportunities for 95% of those who voted for him. This is like announcing he’s a thief on CNN,
      because 65% of Nigerians who are neither registered to vote nor lawfully belonging to any party are
      those Muhamadu Buhari said he’ll rob of their property rights for the benefit of only those who voted
      for him. I am ashamed that his media aides cannot think that Muhamadu Buhari is an outrage to be
      hidden away from the world audience. Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina do Nigeria no favours.

      • wode

        Exposure like that of Patience Jonathan, right?

    • Yusuf Alkali

      A brilliant view. Good one sister!

    • Ogom

      Ok, let your husband drag you and the country down because you are a ‘good housewife’.


    • Sir Louis

      So it is unfair to ask someone you love who is a national leader to correct errors in governance that create disharmony and could compromise his place in history? Strange Love!

      • wode

        And that should be done in public, right? Are you implying that you would like your wife or husband, as the case may be, go to public, in the presence of those you work for that you are not employing those she wants you to put in the company or that you’re not giving her the company money to run her own affair, assuming you’re the CEO/MD of the company where you work and serving under trust and oath?

    • Jujubeans

      er…. this is 2016. I can assure you that many educated and successful Nigerian women would be going back to their own place on their own accord.

  • wode

    Mrs Buhari should be feeling a lot more accomplished and fulfilled by now for unnecessarily putting her husband into avoidable global criticism. She is just being naive and making herself a tool in the hands of some politicians that would rather ensure they control her husband and the entire country for their own personal gains. The husband already has more than enough in his baggage trying to stabilize the country. All she can do is to worsen the situation for him. What this means is that the president hardly get any time for peace. The outside pressure is there. The person that’s suppose to be comforting and supporting him is in the public glare exposing her husband to public criticism and belittlement. She needs to retrace her steps, calm down, support her husband and ensure that her home is not disrupted by political jobbers. That’s not to say that she can’t express herself to her husband, but it should be done with dignity and within the confine of their room. People would talk and remember her husband and the legacy he leaves behind not the political jobbers that are seeing her as the best way at getting at her husband.

    • Busy Bees


      President Buhari expressed a grating opinion on his wife’s place whilst
      standing beside a female Chancellor and head of government of Germany who will
      vicariously feel resentful at such talk.

      Someone with lax sense of description might
      classify President Buhari’s faux pas as another example of mordant humour, but
      wise heads know better what a primitive opinion of women sounds like.

      All I can
      say is sorry to the naïve Nigerians who look to President Muhamadu Buhari. He
      is too backward to conceive CHANGE and may actually need CHANGE himself
      because he doesn’t understand the world around him.

    • Al

      Well said

    • Ogom

      He’s heading for ZERO legacy and his wife should “support” him on this path?

      Mrs Buhari did the right thing. Those who have ears, let them hear.

      • wode

        What’s zero legacy – killing corruption, restoring security, dealing with impunity, fixing infrastructural deficits, restoring probity, transparency and accountability? C’mon, what most of the people commenting don’t know is that Aisha herself have her own interest. A wife of the President, what concerns her about who is appointed and who is not? Is she the one who’s elected by Nigerians? The fact that she can not get money from the erstwhile crooked means, as it used to be to run some of the so called first lady program which is not knows to our constitution, is a source of pain for her. If the President cannot yield to the pressure within his house to manipulate him putting people he doesn’t want into positions of authority, then I get more confident that we have a President who really means well and will utilize our resources very well. If the President should allow this woman to get loose and begin to mismanage the same funds meant for common man, it’s the same set of people praising the wife that would put blame on her husband.

        • Ogom

          I repeat: ZERO LEGACY.

          He has NOT fought corruption. He has run around in circles for a year now with ZERO convictions. Plus, anyone with eyes in their head can see the so called war on corruption is SELECTIVE. Impunity is as rampant as ever and the economy is in the toilet.

          Buhari ran for president 3 times unsuccessfully. I put it to you it wasn’t because of his “superior wisdom” that he was successful on the 4th attempt. He was successful because he COLLABORATED with others not just from his narrow CPC clique.

          Aisha Buhari is quite rightly pointing out that the poor performance of this government is because it has been “hijacked” by opportunists that don’t share the WINNING vision of the Party, which they successfully sold to the Nigerian people in 2015.

          Buhari didn’t win by himself, but it looks like he’s trying to fail by himself, while claiming “superior wisdom”.

          • Subira

            Systematic corruption has its tentacles in the judicial system also. You are expecting swift action from a corrupt system you have no patience waiting for its rehabilitation/restructuring? It is best to move methodically and have an airtight conviction, avoiding possibilities of costly overturned convictions down the road.

          • Ogom

            Ok, no problem.

            Let him take his time, then come back again and ask for votes in 2019. Maybe “superior wisdom” will save him then.

  • thusspokez

    “The president has come out to say it was a joke. I accepted it as a joke. The president has a right to joke and the fact that he’s a president doesn’t mean he can’t crack jokes,” Ms. Omowole said.

    When exactly did Buhari say that it was a joke?

    Ms. Omowole seems to be referring to claims made by social media addict Garba Shehu — who probably sleeps on his keyboard but wakes up intermittently to shot a comment. The Garba Shehu who lives in the social media Cyber world has no clue what his boss is thinking, but nevertheless always have something to say and then pretend that he is speaking for his boss.

    • Baba

      What idiots like you need to know is that Buhari made that statement while laughing! It’s a joke

      • thusspokez

        When was it established that anyone who speaks accompanied with laughter must be joking and should therefore not be taken seriously?

  • Yusuf Alkali

    There is nothing good about a house wife that disclose her husband flaws. Buhari is just so civil and diplomatic as he give her this light sanction. She deserved the worst punishment, ranging from marital suspension to divorce. So that she can be In her father’s house and learn how her mother keeps her father’s secret!

    • Sir Louis

      Correct Alhaji. That will happen in the Arewa Republic of Uthman Dan Fodio, not in Modern Nigeria that seeks and strives to be among the advanced and civilized nations of the World!

      • wode

        Which modern Nigeria where the rate of divorce is in the increase and you have a lot of single mothers flirting around largely because they can’t deal with their husband with dignity? Not to say I support a harsh reaction, like divorce and the likes, but a good wife should learn to be decorous.

        • Rosebud

          I told you to STFU already!

    • John A

      Can you recommend such punishment to Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and host of other modern women.
      We are not supposed to be living with people like you in one country. You are a disgrace to modern human.



    • Iceman

      Zoo is belongs to IGBOS you look are like to monkey.

  • Sir Louis

    There is nothing funny about the serious and salient issues raised by Mrs. Buhari. She gave a candid advice and it is for the President to reflect and make adjustments if he is to leave a good legacy. That monkey’s work and baboons chop is not a joke and the aggrieved cannot be happy.

  • emmanuel

    How can APC and the Federal Government now lie to 190m Nigerians that Buhari was joking? Do these guys really feel all or most Nigerians are dumb, brainless and did not pass WAEC exams? Buhari was only Joking? Just a banter? Haba! Britain really destroyed Africa when it amalgamated countries to form a Nigeria in 1914. Strange things will continue to happen. The other day the same Buhari said he would spill blood if he loses election and they looked for ways to defend his statement. He called German Chancelor Preisent Angela Mitchelle of WEST Germany and they defended him. He challenged the past Nigerian govt and told them not to arrest and kill Islamic terrorist Boko haram members…and they defended him. He has destroyed the economy and Nigerians now steal food from fire while others take their own lives leaving a suicide note for Buhari…and people still defend him.

    Its amazing that the deaths of about 21 Nigerians in the last 72 hours from Fulani Herdsmen, Boko Haram attacks and the attacks on Shites in the North are not the topic of discussion but a statement by an irrelevant and insignificant Aisha and the staged row between her and her ‘Uncle’. Meanwhile people are dying of hunger.

    • Timothy

      Its very simple really, If truly she belongs to the kitchen would she be in BBC or travel to US or run her NGO. IN Aso Rock for instance is she onw actually doing the cooking? Lets be frank here. All the while past presidents were in power did you hear ever that the presidents wife were entertaining their guests in Aso Rock or cooking for their Guests? Its a local amusement to say ‘Na my wife, no mind am, na for house we go meet’ or ‘No mind the woman, no be kitchen, parlour and bedroom she sabi’ Which means she’s in charge of the home, unless she is saying she is no longer in charge of that one. But as per the presidency, make she leave the matter alone. Meanwhile I also know that if the devil is to enter a man’s home its usually though his wife. So many interests want infiltrate the govt and have their way, that is politics, all about interests. The President has a lot on his table and now this is something that should never happen, especially in public. Whatever issues she has with the president is best sorted at home and not in the pages of Newspapers and that is why he dismissed it as idle talk from a disgruntled woman. But na husband and wife matter and they will settle it. And he will remain president. No president in the advance countries ever have their wife come out to criticise them, even Bill Clinton who faced assault charges, the wife |Hilary still supoorted and defended him. Its only here we want to have our way all the time and we dont see that its a political evil infiltration of the president home since they can not get to him in person they go though his wife. Imagine your wife goes and tell your neighbours what you have been doing in the house, how your neighbours will look at you, when both of you can settle it internally without letting the whole world know. After 27 years of marriage what does she want from Buhari, First Lady Office?

      • thusspokez

        All the while past presidents were in power did you hear ever that the presidents wife were entertaining their guests in Aso Rock or cooking for their Guests?

        You are taking his words literally. This is often a sign of thinking deficiency. You need to think deep to understand what his response really mean.

  • JasV

    Even if he was not joking is the wife not supposed to make sure that he puts on some weight? Instead of concentrating on the kitchen and bedroom jobs, she leaves the president to be suffering and went as far as BBC to embarrass him. NO NO NO

    • Seesaws


      Muhamadu Buhari is too local.

      He sounds and thinks like a fossil of the 19th century. He can save
      Nigeria’s blushes by keeping quiet. Muhamadu Buhari has never made sense
      at Press Interview. He talks nonsense for the most part.

  • Okokondem

    Mrs Buhari, based on her own words, is mostly concerned that those appointed by her husband are people not known by either the president or the first lady. Realistically, that criterion for deciding who gets appointed is not attainable. The president and the first lady can’t personally know everyone who becomes a cabinet minister, or heads of department or agencies, and in fact shouldn’t.

    This is where the first lady’s position on the issue of appointments becomes ambiguous in my opinion.

    Is she worried about the caliber, qualifications, or commitment of the men and women appointed to these cabinet positions, OR is she concerned that people loyal to her, who may have contributed to her husband’s election have been sidelined and excluded from appointments? This is where it is not clear for me what the basis of her gripe is. Does anyone have a better understanding of this?

  • umar ardo

    “So I claim superior knowledge over her and the rest of the opposition, because in the end I have succeeded,” Mr. Buhari said.” But it is the people who made him succeed the fourth time after three failed attempts that Aisha is saying they’ve been shut out of his government. Or does Buhari mean he “has superior knowledge” (whatever that means) over those people? If that’s what he means then he is definitely wrong, and he will come to realize it with certainty of sight.

    • Jujubeans

      Yes indeed. I was a great supporter. But Come 2019, he will see if he will smell Aso Rock.

      • abodes_124

        He will oh. he will be declared winner regardless

  • Subira

    1. Corruption had gone rampant in Nigeria and its momentum had to be interrupted. Buhari is doing just that. Change is not perfect on the first try. He stepped up and is willing to lead the Change. Be patient. Respect. Support.

    2. Pick a country with the economy you admire the most. Are all the people & local governments in that country happy? Does the president of that country have to concurrently deal with people’s frustration as well as deep rooted systematic corruption?

    3. Picture a balloon filled with water. Water represent Nigeria’s wealth. How big is that balloon?
    Now imagine bullet holes for each corruption act over the years. What’s amazing and hopeful is that there is still water flowing out of that ballon. I believe Buhari is trying to lead a movement to patch up the holes.

    4. It is very unfortunate that Madam President chose to speak up the way she did and worse that Mr. President chose the response (jokingly or not) that he gave. There is something to be learned from this episodic situation. I truly hope that the media and people in Nigeria will maintain the original focus dear to their hopes and not let the western media drive their thought process at this time.

    5. I am not Nigerian. I am hopeful that Buhari can be successful in his fight against corruption and set an example where other African countries have given up trying. While it may be impossible to ELIMINATE corruption, I believe it can be reduced to a ‘natural & residual’ minimum.

  • Konyesilifu

    Do husband and wife not belong to a family? Do they not belong to one kitchen , one living room and one bedroom ? Why turn a harmless statement of fact of family life into some pornographic idea?

  • Lanre

    Again Yoruba and Southerners are at the forefront of the Gbeborun. The North (which Buhari represents) does not believe in the rights of women. Is that not clear enough? Yet we will not focus on the problems facing us in Yorubaland and Igboland. Instead we make irrelevant issues the topic of our daily existence just like Falana, Adegboruwa, Ozekhome,Abati. Just like slaves!

    • ThisIsNotGbeborun

      Hello Lanre, I’m not certain the issue here- to which everyone is responding- is a ‘tribalistic’ issue. this is a very relevant issue/important matter in the fact that the whole of Nigeria regardless of our beliefs, thoughts, exposure or education voted a Northern man into the seat of power of a dynamic ethnic nation.

      The least that is expected is an act of composure and sense of diplomacy to ensure such jocular comments- as he claims- do not set us further back into ancient times.

      My point here is, there is a time to deliberate on geographic issues and ‘mind your business’, as you say but this is not one of such. The President’s comment belittles the work that other nations and individuals have done to liberate women from illiteracy, child marriages/pregnancy, poverty and domestic violence. Especially where Nigeria is trying to portray itself as forward thinking- in the presence of a female world leader. The comment was in bad taste at best.

      Let’s learn to know how to sharpen our focus, come together as intelligent minds regardless of gender and ethnic bias to deal with fundamental issues like this that will ultimately shape our mindset as a nation.

  • Mikfaya

    That is the main reason why i hate media… Cus media can change and poison people’s mind in less than a second..! So to all those out there that are in support of Mrs. Buhari.. I pray that, may your spouse who you love the most do the same to you before you pass away… So that you can feel and also experience how it feels to be disappointed and humiliated in public by someone you love the most.!

    • Jujubeans

      If you had a responsible mother, then that feeling would be nothing new to you. Aisha Buhari is trying to save her husband. That is what a good wife is. Someone who wants to save you when you don’t want to save yourself. If PMB can’t see that then good luck to him.

      • James V. Dwalu

        I think Aisha should have spoken to the President about how she feels first in private. Or maybe the first lady is frustrated because she made some recommendations that the president did not accept. But let her remember this proverb from Liberia, “the dump trucks that brought the materials to build the mansion, does not pass in front of the mansion after it has been built.” This proverb came up after the Executive Mansion in Liberia was built. All heavy vehicles including dump trucks were barred from using the route in front of the Mansion. the literal meaning is that, those who struggle for something (political) usually do not benefit.

        James V. Dwalu-LIBERIA

      • Mikfaya

        Rubbish…! Her opinion is based on her selfish interest ..! which advise is better than meeting the husband and talk to him heart to heart if she truly love him…!

  • Arogbo

    President Buhari should apologize to Nigerians for saying what she said about his wife in Germany or else face the wrath of all his supporters home and abroad. It’s an insult to our collective sensibility if the President thinks he will get away with this. We are ready to pass a vote of no confidence on this government if the President failed to retract the statement accredited to him. Aisha Buhari is not just standing by her man, she wants President Buhari to succeed regardless how the cabal that have hijacked the presidency feels or thinks.

    • Sparzo

      Hmm. Is she? Standing by her man?
      The man looks like he has not had a decent meal in days.

      • abodes_124

        Man shall not live by bread alone. apart from the kitchen there are things provided in other rooms.

    • Jujubeans

      A very courageous woman who cares about her husband’s legacy even if he does not.

      • Arogbo

        You’re absolutely right my brother!

  • Hank

    I like Buhari, but saying stuff like that beside a very powerful woman is an expensive joke….I trust Aisha is going to make Buhari pay for that remark.

  • Ukpaka

    I’ve always supported Buhari but this is a dumb statement…joke or not. The most ignorant thing he’d said so far. He need to be a listening president and not a know-it-all president. Very disappointing for a man I’d respected.

  • tsunami1earthquake

    It is good that Buhari’s supporters are seriously criticizing him for this nonsensical remark. Buhari opens up his true persona everyday; and that persona is not something to emulate or praise. It is a very bad persona.

    We hope the female voters in the Nigerian society will take note of this and do the needful, come the next election in 2019. Women voters must unite and throw this man out in 2019. He is not the kind of president Nigeria deserves or needs at any time in the nation’s history.

  • abodes_124

    Our very humorous President.! One recalls a few other jokes like the 97%/5%. We wait for a new one each time he is asked a ‘funny’ question when abroad.